Will Our Benefits Increase When We Reach Retirement Age?

Feb 19 2019 - 11:09am

I am 56 and started receiving Social security disability in 2010. My husband is also 56 and started receiving Social security disability in August 2018 due to a horrific car accident. His is substantially more than mine. When we start receiving Social Security at "retirement age" (as opposed to SS disability) will either of our benefits increase? Will I then draw 50% of his? Just not sure how that may or may not work.
Thank you


Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) are paid at the rate of the disabled person's primary insurance amount (PIA), as are Social Security retirement benefits if you start drawing them at full retirement age (FRA). And since SSDI benefits convert to regular retirement benefits at FRA, the amounts that both you and your husband receive on your own work records will remain the same when you reach FRA.

However, If your husband's SSDI rate is more than twice as much as your SSDI rate, then you may qualify for additional spousal benefits in the future. The earliest that you could claim spousal benefits is at age 62, because you can't qualify for spousal benefits prior to age 62 on the basis of being disabled. But, if you claim spousal benefits at prior to your full retirement age of 67, any spousal benefits for which you qualify would be reduced for age.

For example, say Jane receives SSDI benefits in the amount of $800. Jane's husband is also drawing SSDI benefits, and his SSDI rate (i.e. PIA) is $2000. Jane's unreduced excess spousal benefit would be calculated by subtracting her SSDI rate (i.e. PIA) from 50% of her husband's PIA, so if Jane files for spousal benefits when she reaches her full retirement age of 67 her excess spousal rate would be $200 (i.e. $2000/2 - $800). That amount would then be paid in addition to Jane's own benefits to give her a combined rate of $1000, or half of her husband's PIA. But, if Jane takes her excess spousal benefits at age 62, her rate would be reduced to $130, giving her a combined rate of $930.

Best, Jerry